IFcomp 2016: The Mouse

Next: “The Mouse”. A tale of abuse.

“The Mouse” is an illustrated story about a young woman in an abusive relationship with her college roommate. Her one friend appears to be an elderly deaf woman who later steps in to try and effect a rescue. Most of the interactive choice appears to take place in the ensuing conversation. We do have a choice a bit earlier, which results in the form the latest instance of abuse is to take, but prior to that is a very lengthy amount of setup–so lengthy I began to wonder if this would turn out to be one of those pieces where “interactivity” just means “turn the page”.

I do like the presentation. The cartoon illustrations complement what we know of the outward presentation of our heroine: bold and a bit scrappy, the very last person you’d expect to find on the receiving end of an abusive relationship. The sound effects are atmospheric. The font makes the thing stand out.

Part of the challenge in presenting an abusive relationship is in answering the question of why the abused doesn’t just leave or do something about it. It’s very easy, when you’re on the outside, to propose solutions; but I think the game does a pretty good job of illustrating the mental and social bondage our heroine is in. It’s still easy, as an outsider, to pick the “right” answers to all the choices, but at the same time the progress along those choices is believably described, and we still get an idea of how difficult it all could be.

I’m not sure there’s any ending that’s unequivocally good, though. That, I suppose, is realistic.

Breakfast: a plain omelette with slices of sharp cheddar on the side. Well-made, with a good flavour, but we don’t really get our hands in until most of the omelette is gone and we notice the cheddar cheese just sitting there. A glass of tomato juice, savoury rather than sweet, caps off the meal.

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